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Poster: William Tell Date: Jun 5, 2011 10:02am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Butch Trucks Quote (Dead-Related)

Sure, I can see that--ie, how many times it happened, etc., and you are right to be defensive if you take the entire 30 yrs as "good"...but, BTrucks is probably like me (har), and if I were to judge it, I'd say 24 yrs of the 30 weren't so hot...this is no news to anyone around here, of course. So, my pt is, if he were even vaguely aware of what other players were saying from the late 70s on, I imagine he felt sad (for what JG had become with all the issues), just as he did for Greg A., etc., etc. Thus, he might have "stopped listening", just like I did in 82.

All of that is by way of defending your defensive take on it, but to rationalize the opposing view a bit by pointing out that even many of us here would "write off" the last ten yrs of the DEAD, and some, even the last 20 yrs or so...if he's using those numbers, he could rightfully say "it didn't happen often"...IMHO, as usual.

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Poster: clementinescaboose Date: Jun 5, 2011 1:35pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Butch Trucks Quote (Dead-Related)

actually i don't see it that way at all. really i take only about half of those years as good (i.e. '66-'83) and about 8 years ('68-'74) as great.

to me Trucks is trying to insinuate that during those great years they were totally inconsistent. he first says: "Once and a while they would really lock in and find a groove. It was very few and far between but they would do it." then: "The later years of the band it almost never happened...Toward the end, the other guys took on a stronger position as Jerry got further out of it. They would play for hours and they would just noodle and go nowhere."

so even if Trucks is writing off the later years and saying they were totally inconsistent relative to how many good vs. bad years (somewhat valid imho), he is still trying to say that during the most consistent '68-'74 (or whatever you consider it to be) period they only found a groove once in a while. i can in no way defend this part of his argument.

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Jun 5, 2011 5:55pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Butch Trucks Quote (Dead-Related)

Well, I think Butch was writing rather vaguely (perhaps his thoughts were vague in the first place), as what he means is rather unclear.
If you really wanted to analyze it though, he says pretty clearly that "the nights it was really good were when the three of them really clicked and the other guys just stayed out of the way." I can see how Mickey & whoever was on keyboards could 'get in the way', though I have to wonder how that applies to Weir.
There certainly were times in the long jams where Weir 'stayed out of the way', but it basically became Hartbeats music at those points! It doesn't strike me that in the best Dead jams, Weir is going off & hiding so Phil & Jerry can shine more... But his style is sometimes self-effacing so it's hard to notice just what he's doing; maybe Butch is used to more assertive guitarists who solo a lot! (He does imply that Weir & "the other guys" stepped up more in the later days, which is true.)

But Butch also seems to say that toward the end, as Jerry got 'further out of it', is when the other members would noodle more and go nowhere - implying that it was Jerry who mainly gave a direction to Dead jams. Which is an interesting implication - but is that what Butch means, or was that a general statement about their whole career? Maybe the memory of a long '90s Space was lingering in Butch's mind here....

And his saying that the Dead's jams were very "country based" leaves me wondering just which jams he was thinking of, after the early '70s. Did the Dead have more 'country jams' than, for instance, the Allman "Blue Sky" Brothers? Umm, no.

One also has to wonder what Butch considers "a groove", if the Dead rarely found one. Maybe for him, it was all downhill after the Pigpen/Lovelight days? Heck, even the 'disco Dead' was all about the groove. (I admit many of my favorite early-'70s jams do not groove much, but are "locked in" in a more subtle way. But as Cliff mentioned, the Dead had more going on musically than a locked-in groove.)

So it seems to me that Butch's actual position is imprecise & hard to pin down, except that he found the Dead rather sloppy/noodley much of the time, and not entirely to his taste - and perhaps because of this reaction, it doesn't sound like he's a frequent or "serious" Dead listener. Not that he needs to be; he has his own band!

This post was modified by light into ashes on 2011-06-06 00:55:49

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Poster: bkidwell Date: Jun 5, 2011 12:34pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Defensiveness and later years

I have the utmost respect for your way of hearing the band, and your posts to this forum have helped me "learn new things" while listening, so don't take my comments as disagreement, just perspective.

I take 67-94 as "good" but 68-74 is "transcendental" - and I don't feel emotionally defensive about my appreciation for the band's later work. I've devoted a lot of my life to serious musical study and performance and my "home genre" is moldy European classical, so I feel fairly confident my ears are screwed on correctly.

I think that the element you respond most to in music - based on your tastes in Grateful Dead performances and your love for Cream (who I agree are magnificent!) - is a certain kind of focused, rock and roll blues improv. I am sure you understand and love a lot of music of all kinds (don't want to sound like I'm being critical of your taste) but I think that is just what you like the best.

For me, that musical language is something I have learned to love - when I first started listening to the band, the late 60s sound was "too rock and roll" for me to appreciate fully, but I have since grown to love it, and my appreciation for rock and roll in general is because listening to the GD "taught me" the meaning of rock, so to speak.

I think everyone can hear that the band moved away from that sound in later years, and I agree that many of the musical elements that are wonderful in the band's early years more or less vanished. The counterbalancing factor is that many new musical elements that I enjoy and believe are valid and well-performed musical ideas (both songs and jams) appear throughout the band's post-retirement career. My ears hear a lot of wonderful things in Bob Weir's post-retirement compositions, for instance - I think Sailor->Saint, Estimated, Victim or the Crime are good compositions and passages like the St. of Circumstance polyrhythm/crescendo jam are musically compelling.

I think it is a valid and understandable personal taste to listen only to the years you enjoy, but I think the claim that rich musical experiences are missing from later years is somehow an objective truth is not true.

That said, I still also agree that the best 100 shows in Grateful Dead history all took place prior to 1974!

This post was modified by bkidwell on 2011-06-05 19:34:18

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Poster: William Tell Date: Jun 5, 2011 1:34pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Defensiveness and later years

Cool; appreciate your well articulated perspective, and am in agreement...of course, I love a good Bob Bash (ahem), but much of it is more or less "in good fun".

I could really relate to that earlier post about how showing up at a DEAD concert in the mid 70s was a shocking experience in that they weren't the band I'd prepared for by listening to Live Dead and S&R all those yrs. Of course, that was an unrealistic expectation (it was all on me, and I did come to enjoy the shows thoroughly, but I did always think something had changed). Much of what I do now is wallow in the abundance of material available from that earlier time period, thanks to LMA!